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Bo Kluea

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Sandwiched between Doi Phukha National Park to the west and Khun Nan National park to the east, Bo Kluea is Nan’s glittering, hidden gem, though it won’t remain hidden for long. Named for the ancient salt mines located right in the middle of town, Bo Kluea has everything a tourist destination in Thailand needs to become wildly popular: vast natural beauty, highway accessibility, and a cute gimmick.

In fact, the fabled salt mines of Bo Kluea are only a small part of the picture when it comes to this laid back mountain destination. The town itself -- which really is almost more of a large village than a proper town -- contains little of interest or use to travellers aside from the salt mines, a few quaint shops, and a spot to top off your gas tank. While its quaintness is a definite draw, what really pulls tourists to Bo Kluea is the spectacular beauty of the surrounding mountains and valleys. With the Doi Phukha National Park just on the edge of town, and Khun Nan National Park a short 5 km up the highway, Bo Kluea has a ready supply of nature walks, stunning view points, and wildlife to keep your inner-hippie in a state of awe and wonder. Even the town itself is beautiful, with more rice paddies than roads, and a visit during rainy season or just after would offer views of endlessly green fields and mountainsides.

If spending any significant time in town, one would be remiss not to venture away from their cozy room or tent to see the natural attractions on offer. For the early riser, the viewpoint about 15 km into Doi Phukha NP offers spectacular sunrise views, and is worth the visit if you can drag yourself out of bed for it. A few minutes’ drive past the entrance for Khun Nan NP is the beautiful Sapan Waterfall, a worthy destination for a photo-shoot or idyllic lunch by the cool, mountain spring-fed pool. Driving in either direction on Highway 1081 will take you past lovely scenery and small mountain villages, all worth taking a look at if you have the time, and the drive north towards Chaloem Prakiat and Huay Kon simply must be one of the most gorgeous drives in Thailand.

It’s safe to say that Bo Kluea has caught tourism fever, and as more and more domestic and foreign tourists hear tales of its beauty, more accommodation seems to be popping up. Indeed, where there once was only one place to stay in town, there are now two well established locations as of early 2012, with no less than three more under construction. While it’s always good when a fantastic destination becomes a bit more accessible, let’s all say a collective prayer that Bo Kluea doesn’t turn into the Pai of Nan.

Possible overdevelopment aside, the future looks good for Bo Kluea, and anyone visiting the province should make time to at least stop for a midday meal or a stroll through the rustic lanes and dirt roads of Bo Kluea town.

Note there are no banking facilities in Bo Kluea -- be sure to bring enough cash with you.

Text and/or map last updated on 12th July, 2012.

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A hidden gem
By robdale, 01 December 2012
4.0  stars

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